The auto industry was a valued guest at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Much of the participation was based on the recent movement toward autonomous driving — vehicles that maximize present and/or developing technologies to navigate roadways without the need for human intervention — but one of the most intriguing displays for the near term had to be Volkswagen with its Golf R Touch and “trained parking.”
On the outside, the Golf R Touch is a four-door Golf hatchback with performance add-ons and a nifty paint job, but inside is an intriguing new way to control vehicle functions.
Volkswagen says it points to a future where networked vehicles work intuitively and at the heart of the Golf R Touch is gesture control, where the car is operated simply through the use of hand gestures.
You could argue that vehicle operations have forever been performed through hand movements, but this goes a step further by actually not requiring touch. For example, swiping a hand overhead toward the windshield would cause the sunroof to close; gesturing in the opposite direction would open it. Similarly, performing similarly sweeping gestures around the seats would allow them to be quickly and effortlessly adjusted.
The system uses onboard cameras to interpret certain hand and/or finger gestures to control often-used in-car functions — commands such as turning up the temperature or changing radio stations. The idea is that the driver doesn’t have to (a) look at a screen to find out what function he wants to perform; and (b) actually reach for and touch the screen or a button in order to perform that function (or navigate to another screen in able to then perform that function). Cabin accent lighting can also be individually selected.
Trained Parking allows a vehicle to scan a travelled route to a parking space, store the data and then re-travel the route autonomously. It can also carry out the procedure remotely, such as with the use of a Smartphone application, on an often travelled route, such as the way to a reserved office parking spot.